What Writer is Your Greatest Influence?

I have several authors whom I list as my favorites, or as my greatest influences. I believe a lot of writers probably do the same.

A writer (or artist of any discipline, really) takes a little bit from every piece of work they read or experience. And that’s really the best way to learn. We learn to tell great stories by imitating other great storytellers.

Learning by Imitation

When we’re first learning, the imitation is often just that: a thinly-disguised copy of a favorite story or an obvious mimicry of another author’s style. And that’s okay, because we’re still in the early stages of learning and developing our own style. Our influences are more apparent. Continue reading

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Anniversary of an Adventure

A year ago at this time, I was facing the biggest adventure of my life (thus far). I was in the process of upending my entire life and leaving behind everything I’d ever known to move across the country. For those of you who have moved around a lot, this is probably no big deal; but you need to understand where I was coming from.

I had lived my entire life in the same city (I won’t say how many years it’s been, but I will say that when I graduated college, neither I nor any of my classmates had cell phones). Anyway, I’ve lived in a few different homes/apartments, but always within a 10-mile radius of my parents’ house and the area I grew up in. Change has always come slowly for me, and I’m very fond of the familiar – even if that familiar is uncomfortable or less than ideal.

I’ve always loved traveling, but the thing about traveling for vacations is that when it’s done, you come back home – home to security and the familiar. Leaving my familiar surroundings to make a permanent move to a place I’ve never been is an entirely different ball game.

When the opportunity presented itself for me to move, I could have said no. Nobody would have judged me; in fact, very few people would have even known that I’d made some sort of a decision at all. I could have stayed in the familiar and gone on with my life.

But instead I said goodbye to my parents and friends, packed up my books and my cat, and left my familiar east coast city for a tiny north-western town that I’d never been to before. And I’m so thankful I did it. Continue reading

So You Want to Be a Social Media Expert?

I originally wrote this post for the blog at Helps2, the social media company that I work with. 

Social media manager. Content creator. Platform consultant. Growth hacker. Yes, this is a thing now.

Ten to twelve years ago, social media as we know it today didn’t exist at all. So is there such a thing as an “expert” in a field that is not only brand new, but is changing on a daily basis? And if you’re not Mark Zuckerberg or a Google employee, can you actually become one of these people?

Yes, you can. While I may not be considered an “expert,” as compared to the real pros, I have learned a thing or two about the social media world and how to stand above the crowd. I’m still learning, growing, practicing, and adjusting, but I will share a few tips that can help you move out of the “newbie” realm and on towards “expert.” Continue reading

Childhood Book Tag

I just read this post about favorite childhood books over on The Magic Violinist’s blog, so I thought I’d join in the fun. I’m blessed to have grown up in a book-loving household, so I’ve loved books and reading since day one of my life, pretty much.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

Probably various Dr. Seuss books, but my first non-picture book I remember reading was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And of course the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia.

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You are the Narrator of Your Own Life

What is a narrator? A narrator is someone who tells a story.

In literary terms, a narrator can be “I” – called first person point of view. To borrow the first line from a classic Gothic romance novel, an example of first person narration would be “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” (from Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier)

A third person point of view narrator is someone else telling the story. This is either a character written as he/she/they (not “I”), or an outside onlooker relating the tale (as when a story begins with something like “Listen, dear reader, and you shall hear a tale…” Continue reading

Playlist for a Jazz-Age Dieselpunk Fantasy

Music is always one of my go-to sources of inspiration, and whenever I’m working on a story I put together a playlist of music and songs. Right now I’m working on a dieselpunk/historical fantasy series set in 1920s Los Angeles. A lot of my selections are not necessarily from the 1920s; since I’m writing historical fantasy, I don’t mind deviating from exact historical accuracy, especially for my personal playlist. I just want to evoke a flavor and mindset of the Roaring 20s to help immerse me in the glittering magical world of Mrs. Jones.

So here is some music to write by:

Theme from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

I love this show, and it’s a fun way to get myself into Roaring 20s mode. While I’m not writing murder mysteries and my heroine is no Phryne Fisher (though they do have a few things in common), the music is a great thing to have on my playlist.

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